July 11, 2016

Elected Officials Take Time Out From National Political Conventions To Learn About Hunger In America

Feeding America to Provide Volunteer Opportunities for Policymakers in Cleveland and Philadelphia

This July, Feeding America®, the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization, is hosting volunteer opportunities at both the Republican National Convention and Democratic National Convention to help raise awareness about hunger and food insecurity. Elected officials have been invited to volunteer and visit food bank programs in action during the conventions to learn more about the struggles of the more than 48 million Americans, including 15 million children, who are food insecure.

A study released earlier this year, Map the Meal Gap 2016, demonstrates that food insecurity exists in every single county and congressional district in the United States. Additionally, in virtually every county in America, there are food-insecure individuals whose level of income prevents them from qualifying for federal nutrition assistance.

"Hunger has a broad impact on health and educational outcomes and costs, workforce productivity, children's development and long-term well-being," said Diana Aviv, CEO of Feeding America. "We can end hunger in America, but doing so will require leadership from the president and Congress, the right public policies and the shared efforts of government, non-profits, businesses and individuals."

Research shows that there is a direct link between food insecurity and poor health, especially for children. Studies document that children who experience hunger face significant stress and challenges that can have a lasting effect on their physical, cognitive and behavioral development.

Summer is an especially trying time for food-insecure children.  When schools close for summer break, children lose access to meals they would otherwise get at school. In fact, only one in six children who receive free and reduced-price lunch during the school year participate in summer meal programs.

The events planned during the political conventions are a coordinated effort between Feeding America, the local food banks and partner agencies as an opportunity to learn about food insecurity and the hunger-relief efforts that take place throughout the country. Elected officials and policymakers at the local, state and national level have been invited to participate.

The Greater Cleveland Food Bank is hosting Summer Feeding in Action at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland, a member agency, on Wednesday, July 20, where elected officials will have the opportunity to visit with youth and serve meals. Philabundance has invited elected officials to Send Hunger Packing, a friendly food packing competition which takes place at their warehouse on Tuesday, July 26, to help provide food boxes for distribution for families in need.

Last year, more than 46 million people in America - including 12 million children and 7 million seniors - received food assistance through the Feeding America network of 200 food banks and their 60,000 food pantries and meal programs.

About Feeding America
Feeding America is a nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 46 million people through food pantries and meal programs in communities throughout America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate.  Together we can solve hunger. Visit http://www.feedingamerica.org/. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.

Ross Fraser
Feeding America